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The pub is Ireland's top tourist draw

Tuesday, August 19 11:47:12

Ireland's pubs are the country's top tourist attraction, according to new research.

The conclusion comes from a report by Tony Foley, Economist, DCU Business School was launched today entitled 'The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism'.

It found that the top-ranked item influencing overseas visitors to come to Ireland was the experience of the Irish pub (80pc).

The report was launched at a debate facilitated by Prof Kevin Rafter between leading tourism stakeholders on the relationship between the hospitality and drinks industry in Ireland and the country's tourist offering. The event entitled "Ireland's tourism offer - are our hospitality and drinks industries unique resources or do they play into an embarrassing national stereotype?" was hosted by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) as part of its 'Support your local' campaign.

"Listening to Irish music in a pub" was the number one activity cited by visiting tourists (83pc).

Guinness Storehouse was the biggest fee-charging tourism attraction in the country. It achieved a record number of visitors of 1.1571 million in 2013. The Old Jameson Distillery was also in the top 20 of fee-charging attractions with 267,800 visitors. Over 90pc of these visitors are from overseas.

The tax take from tourism in 2013 was E1.4 billion and domestic and overseas tourism expenditure was E4.7 billion excluding carrier receipts.

Speaking about the research, Tony Foley said the economic role of tourism is substantial. Recent improved tourism performance has contributed to the economic recovery.

"The 2014 Government draft Tourism Policy includes very ambitious growth targets for tourism to increase the take to E5 billion in real terms compared to the level of E3.3 billion in 2013. Hospitality and drinks industry support will contribute to the realisation of the ambitious tourism growth targets," he said.

Bart Storan, Campaign Manager for 'Support Your Localů' said: "Tourism is expected to play a major role in the recovery of employment and economic activity over the next few years. The drinks industry can contribute to the realisation of these ambitious growth targets if it's supported appropriately. Punitive excise increases in the last 2 budgets have created an unsustainable position for the industry - pubs are closing and the small businesses that make up the industry are struggling to stay afloat.

"Excise is a tax on tourism. Increasing tax on alcohol, including excise duty, does not address misuse of the product, it simply harms our tourism offering. Failte Ireland research cites that the price of alcohol, which is the highest in Europe, is one of the main contributors as to why tourists would not visit Ireland again-second only to the weather. Do we really want to give tourists another reason not to visit again? We would urge the Government: support tourism, Support Your Localů"

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